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By Ken Wagner 11/6/05

The 10th annual Oval Nationals turned out to be outstanding with Hagen, Gardner and Darland each doing the podium dance during the three day event. With all the top drivers around the country in the house, it was a special event with plenty of bravado and tire rubbing moves. Dave Darland was the most consistent of them all finishing a fourth, a fifth and then grabbing the specially made gold ring and $30,000 in the 50 lap finale. Driving the Hoosier Race Tires – Weld Wheels, Chalk, Claxton # 11D, Dave ignored the leader board, and the many yellow and red flag stops, to walk away with the biggest purse in his career.

Mrs Wags pics Click here. For Doug Allen's Click here.

Quietly, Dave was equal to the task of holding off Damion Gardner as the race wound down. His quick restarts gave him large leads that he never squandered and the big check and white eagle trophies looked great on the 2nd floor of his trailer after the race. You couldn’t find a happier winner and one who some car owners back there seem to have written off. He has two USAC/CRA wins this season and will look for a Manzy repeat next. Great job by the man from Lincoln, Indiana.

When Damion Gardner chased down Cory Kruseman for the lead and the 25 lap prelim win on day two of the event, you knew it was for more than mere points. The Demon drives to win, but this one was extra special for him as these two are battling for the USAC/CRA points championship. It was one of the many confrontations between the two top runners this year and the outcome may have ultimately settled the points after Cory dropped out early on Saturday night. Damion set his 21st fast time of the year on Friday, but could only muster a sixth place finish just behind Cory in the 25 lap prelim. He stepped up the Temecula Valley Pipe & Supply – Arizona Race Mart, Eagle, Shaver # 50 the second night and ended up winning the Dean Thompson trophy when he accumulated the most points for the event. The six position invert put him put him on the outside of row three and he quickly went to the whip to grab second and chased the winner to the end. He now has a 110 point lead with four point nights left in the season.

Rip Williams fought hard in his John Jory Corporation – Weld Wheels, Stinger, Shaver black # 3 car for three nights and ended up third in the big money dance. Ripper led the first two laps of the Saturday night main, then dropped back as far as sixth or so before coming back to challenge Gardner to the end. He was second on the opening night and tenth the next night. He is still third in championship points, only 32 behind second place Kruseman.

A great group of travelers from the USAC territory in the Midwest made for the best field of stars ever at the Ovals. The 75 cars registered and 70 who participated made it the largest and most dynamic gathering of traditional sprint cars in the country this year. It was a great battle and the competition the best ever between the two groups of USAC regulars. It gave the fans a lot of joy rooting their favorites on.

Mat Neeley was one of those who trailered in and he had seventh, sixth and seventh place finishes for the three days and was the fast time qualifier on Friday night. The youngster from Illinois looked fast and worked hard to give the leaders his best all weekend.

Mike Spencer should be proud of his 4th place finish after drilling on the bottom and winding up with a great finish with all the talent in the house this night. He looked great making a late run. Mike continues to improve and run in the front. The fifth place driver had a very rocky weekend. On Friday he missed the heat races with a high qualifying time. He then ran 15th in the C main. On Friday he won his heat and started 20th in the main. He finished 8th and started Saturday’s race in 7th row of the B main. He transferred to start 19th in the big money run and was the hard charger, passing 14 cars on his way to the front. It was more remarkable because he collided with another car early in the main and bent a wheel that caused a vibration the rest of the night.

Cory Kruseman was in a good position to win his third Oval Nationals on Saturday after finishing 5th and 2nd in the prelims. He was set to start 5th in the main next to the Demon, but on the line-up he pulled in for a brake line problem adjustment and when he returned to the track his car lost some vital pieces on the track and he was done. It dropped him to 110 behind point leader Gardner, but it ain’t over, yet.

This was a memorable weekend at the PAS and here are some of my recollections: The haulers already parked in the infield when I arrived, the warm sunny three days, the oddity of two team cars crashing on the same lap at opposite ends of the track ( RJ Johnson and Jesse Hockett), the Demon’s pass on the Kruser, Darland’s domination to the big money tussle, Tony Jones passing Josh Ford and jumping the cushion – oh nooooo, the shiny tires on Mat Neely, Seth Wilson, Cory Kruseman, Mike Kirby, Bud Kaeding and the blues brothers cars of Rickie and Charlie, .The pass by Brad Sweet on Josh Ford for the last transfer on Thursday, Levi Jones wild crash on the backstretch Friday night, The campground without my motorhome, the trash can vandals in the camping area, The eagle trophies, Mike Kirby’s charge from 19th to 5th with a vibrating wheel, the crowded pits and being in the way often, The light taken off the turn two wall by a sprint car, My first look at Bryan Clauson, Darren Hagen’s first win, busting curfew, getting to sit in the grandstands with my wife and friends, missing the pomp and ceremony with Scott Deloisio’s intro’s of the drivers, actually I remember everything, it was an event to remember.

The Wagsdash payoff was finalized at $17,350 and thanks to everyone who had a part in the grand success. Thanks to all of you who came by and said kind words about the fun at the race. We all are most appreciative and look forward to an even better event next year. I am starting on the 16th annual now with the announcement of Bob Hogle as Grand Marshal of the 2006 running of the little guy race. I am considering paying $5,000 to win the Wagsdash and at least $10,000 for the Big Dawg Main event. Get involved. You can find the total payoff at http://www.wagtimes.com/wagspay2005.html.

FYI, no more live updates from me as I will not be up in the press box in the future because I value the view from the grandstands with my wife and friends too much and I am going to try and relax and enjoy the racing from now on instead of working on press stuff. I will continue all other phases of my reporting as will Mrs Wags pics, so only a location change for me. I think I am going to Manzy this weekend, so look for me there. I will have a few posters and t-shirts for sale. I have a bunch of medium sweatshirts left so ask for them. OK, I am pooped, ta ta.

VALVOLINE USAC NATIONAL & USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: November 3, 2005 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway – 10th “Budweiser Oval Nationals”

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Damion Gardner, 50, Chaffin-16.047; 2. Dave Darland, 11, Walker-Guiducci-16.330; 3. Bryan Clauson, 67, Kunz-16.338; 4. Bill Rose, 6R, Rose-16.344; 5. Mat Neely, 6, K&N-16.380; 6. Josh Wise, 20, Stewart-16.423; 7. Levi Jones, 2B, 2B Racing-16.445; 8. Darren Hagen, 71, Hagen-16.445; 9. Jay Drake, 21, Stewart-16.448; 10. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-16.455; 11. Shane Cottle, 10E, Edison-16.485; 12. Alan Ballard, 97, Ballard-16.510; 13. Andy Forsberg, 92N, Forsberg-16.515; 14. Rickie Gaunt, 2A, Smiley-16.515; 15. Jon Stanbrough, 10, R&B-16.518; 16. Cory Kruseman, 38, Crossno-16.530; 17. Mike Spencer, 44, Engstrom-16.580; 18. Rick Williams, 6x, R. Williams-16.585; 19. Rodney Argo, 19, Argo-16.587; 20. Charles Davis Jr., 8A, Smiley-16.610; 21. Brent Kaeding, 69K, Kaeding-16.665; 22. Seth Wilson, 17, Racing Optics-16.690; 23. David Cardey, 59, Giardina-16.718; 24. Jerry Coons Jr., 69, Dynamics-16.720; 25. Bud Kaeding, 29, BK/Leffker-16.725; 26. Troy Rutherford, 5, Keller-16.733; 27. Dickie Gaines, 21x, Roberts-16.745; 28. Ryan Pace, 44p, Pace-16.750; 29. Kevin Urton, 51, Urton-16.752; 30. Brad Sweet, 1C, Sweet-16.757; 31. Wally Pankratz, 3x, Jory-16.771; 32. Jordan Hermansader, 4, Alexander-16.775; 33. Jason York, 25N, York-16.776; 34. Danny Sheridan, 18, Kittle-16.789; 35. Bobby Cody, 41, Cody-16.798; 36. Davey Pombo, 3P, Pombo-16.805; 37. Tony Jones, 87, Vermeer/Ferreira-16.810; 38. Mike Leslie, 76, Montgomery-16.813; 39. Jesse Hockett, 2AZ, Massey-16.815; 40. Josh Ford, 73, Ford-16.822; 41. Casey Shuman, 44M, Felker-16.840; 42. John Scott, 83, Scott-16.844; 43. Greg Bragg, 33, Blair-16.875; 44. Jeremy Sherman, 7, Priestley-16.917; 45. Danny Ebberts, 77, Acosta-16.927; 46. Shain Matthews, 167, Matthews-16.928; 47. Adam Mitchell, 14, Lancaster-16.937; 48. Tom Hessert III, 5H, Hessert-16.970; 49. Rickey Hood, 33x, Cushman-17.030; 50. Mike Kirby, 96, Kirby-17.030; 51. Evan Suggs, 33E, Suggs-17.052; 52. Michael Trimble, 15T, CTR-17.080; 53. R.J. Johnson, 15, Martin-17.120; 54. Ryan Devitt, 35R, Blenkarn-17.129; 55. Troy Cline, 11x, Wilkerson-17.257; 56. Davey Ray, 14AJ, Fattfro-17.271; 57. Tyler Spath, 35, Spath-17.329; 58. Rick Becker Jr., 67K, Becker-17.332; 59. Cal Smith, 23, Bellegante-17.613; 60. Richard Harvey Jr., 59H, Harvey-17.703; 61. Nadine Keller, 16, Keller-17.840; 62. Shawn Kautz, 29K, Kautz-18.007; 63. Bill Camarillo, 40C, Camland-18.022; 64. Matt Stewart, 85, Stewart-18.242; 65. Justin Marvel, 14L, Lancaster-18.382; 66. Richard Brace, 2R, Brace-18.567; 67. Jim Richardson, 08, Richardson-NT; 68. Gene Manhire, 4K, Kittle-NT; 69. Ludvig Solberg, 13, Solberg-NT.

“D” MAIN: (10 laps) 1. Spath, 2. Harvey, 3. Kautz, 4. Brace, 5. Keller, 6. Marvel, 7. Stewart, 8. Solberg, 9. Camarillo, 10. Smith. NT

“C” MAIN: (10 laps) 1. Scott, 2. Shuman, 3. Sherman, 4. Ebberts, 5. Hessert, 6. Devitt, 7. Ray, 8. Cline, 9. Brace, 10. Mitchell, 11. Bragg, 12. Harvey, 13. Suggs, 14. Matthews, 15. Kirby, 16. Johnson, 17. Spath, 18. Trimble, 19. Kautz, 20. Hood. NT

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Kruseman, 2. Pombo, 3. Gardner, 4. Cottle, 5. Pankratz, 6. Rutherford, 7. Brent Kaeding, 8. Wise. 2:53.25

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Gaines, 2. T.Jones, 3. Darland, 4. L.Jones, 5. Wilson, 6. Spencer, 7. Ballard, 8. Hermansader. 2:52.46

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. York, 2. Leslie, 3. Forsberg, 4. Hagen, 5. Clauson, 6. Rick Williams, 7. Cardey, 8. Pace. NT

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Coons, 2. Hockett, 3. Gaunt, 4. Urton, 5. Rose, 6. Argo, 7. Sheridan, 8. Drake. NT

FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Rip Williams, 2. Bud Kaeding, 3. Neely, 4. Sweet, 5. Ford, 6. Cody, 7. Davis, 8. Stanbrough. NT

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Rick Williams, 2. Spencer, 3. Clauson, 4. Wilson, 5. Wise, 6. Rutherford, 7. Scott, 8. Pankratz, 9. Ford, 10. Ballard, 11. Ebberts, 12. Brent Kaeding, 13. Shuman, 14. Argo, 15. Hermansader, 16. Cody, 17. Sherman, 18. Rose, 19. Cardey. 3:33.64

FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Darren Hagen, 2. Rip Williams, 3. Levi Jones, 4. Dave Darland, 5. Cory Kruseman, 6. Damion Gardner, 7. Mat Neely, 8. Rickie Gaunt, 9. Mike Spencer, 10. Bryan Clauson, 11. Bud Kaeding, 12. Jerry Coons Jr., 13. Tony Jones, 14. Brad Sweet, 15. Seth Wilson, 16. Charles Davis Jr., 17. Dickie Gaines, 18. Rick Williams, 19. Jay Drake, 20. Josh Wise, 21. Davey Pombo, 22. Jason York, 23. Shane Cottle, 24. Andy Forsberg, 25. Kevin Urton, 26. Mike Leslie, 27. Jesse Hockett. NT

** Richardson flipped during qualifications. Smith flipped during the D Main. Kautz flipped during the C Main. Pace flipped during the third heat. Stanbrough flipped during the fifth heat.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Rip Williams, Laps 2-25 Hagen.

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Mat Neely, 6, K&N-16.659; 2. Dave Darland, 11, Walker-Guiducci-16.707; 3. Levi Jones, 2B, 2B Racing-16.743; 4. Rickie Gaunt, 2A, Smiley-16.748; 5. Tony Jones, 87, Vermeer/Ferreira-16.752; 6. Casey Shuman, 44M, Felker-16.753; 7. Rick Williams, 6x, Williams-16.770; 8. Cory Kruseman, 38, Crossno-16.775; 9. Shain Matthews, 167, Matthews-16.778; 10. Bill Rose, 6R, Rose-16.798; 11. Jerry Coons Jr., 69, Dynamics-16.805; 12. Jay Drake, 21, Stewart-16.830; 13. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-16.848; 14. Charles Davis Jr., 8A, Smiley-16.865; 15. Alan Ballard, 97, Ballard-16.888; 16. Damion Gardner, 50, Chaffin-16.895; 17. Andy Forsberg, 92N, Forsberg-16.914; 18. Tyler Spath, 35, Spath-16.994; 19. Seth Wilson, 17, Racing Optics-17.012; 20. Josh Ford, 73, Ford-17.014; 21. Troy Rutherford, 5, Keller-17.029; 22. Mike Spencer, 44, Engstrom-17.042; 23. Darren Hagen, 71, Hagen-17.072; 24. Shane Cottle, 10E, Edison-17.082; 25. Bud Kaeding, 29, BK/Leffker-17.097; 26. Adam Mitchell, 14, Lancaster-17.103; 27. Danny Sheridan, 18, Kittle Motorsports-17.118; 28. Danny Ebberts, 77, Acosta-17.148; 29. R.J. Johnson, 15AZ, Martin-17.155; 30. Jesse Hockett, 2AZ, Massey-17.171; 31. Rodney Argo, 19, Argo-17.190; 32. Mike Kirby, 96, Kirby-17.191; 33. Jason York, 25N, York-17.214; 34. Dickie Gaines, 21x, Roberts-17.220; 35. Josh Wise, 20, Stewart-17.222; 36. Bobby Cody, 41, Cody-17.227; 37. Evan Suggs, 33E, Suggs-17.228; 38. Brad Sweet, 1C, Sweet-17.234;39. Wally Pankratz, 3x, Jory-17.245; 40. Rickey Hood, 33x, Cushman-17.302; 41. Kevin Urton, 51, Urton-17.302; 42. Greg Bragg, 33, Blair-17.303; 43. Davey Pombo, 3P, Pombo-17.304; 44. Ryan Devitt, 35R, Blenkarn-17.312; 45. Richard Brace, 2R, Brace-17.362; 46. Jeremy Sherman, 7, Priestley-17.382; 47. Jon Stanbrough, 10, R&B-17.402; 48. Mike Leslie, 76, Montgomery-17.415; 49. Bryan Clauson, 67, Kunz-17.420; 50. Davey Ray, 14AJ, Fattfro-17.448; 51. David Cardey, 59, Giardina-17.453; 52. Bill Camarillo, 40C, Camland-17.473; 53. Jordan Hermansader, 4, Alexander-17.592; 54. Brent Kaeding, 69K, Kaeding-17.602; 55. John Scott, 83, Scott-17.602; 56. Shawn Kautz, 29K, Kautz-17.632; 57. Tom Hessert III, 5H, Hessert-17.663; 58. Michael Trimble, 15T, CTR-17.782; 59. Justin Marvel, 14L, Lancaster-17.792; 60. Richard Harvey Jr., 59H, Harvey-17.875; 61. Ryan Pace, 44p, Pace-17.893; 62. Troy Cline, 11x, Wilkerson-17.897; 63. Cal Smith, 23, Bellegante-18.312; 64. Matt Stewart, 85, Stewart-18.425; 65. Nadine Keller, 16, Keller-18.492; 66. Ludvig Solberg, 13, Solberg-18.834; 67. Gene Manhire, 4K, Kittle-NT; 68. Rick Becker Jr., 67K, Becker-NT.

D MAIN: (10 laps) 1. Hessert, 2. Trimble, 3. Marvel, 4. Pace, 5. Harvey, 6. Solberg, 7. Smith, 8. Keller. NT

C MAIN: (10 laps) 1. Sherman, 2. Urton, 3. Bragg, 4. Clauson, 5. Pombo, 6. Devitt, 7. Stanbrough, 8. Ray, 9. Brace, 10. Leslie, 11. Brent Kaeding, 12. Hessert, 13. Hermansader, 14. Marvel, 15. Scott, 16. Cardey, 17. Trimble, 18. Pace, 19. Kautz, 20. Camarillo. NT

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Gardner, 2. Coons, 3. Neely, 4. Cody, 5. Shuman, 6. Mitchell, 7. Argo, 8. Rutherford. NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Kirby, 2. Sheridan, 3. Spencer, 4. Darland, 5. Drake, 6. Forsberg, 7. Rick Williams, 8. Suggs. 3:02.77

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Kruseman, 2. Sweet, 3. Rip Williams, 4. Hagen, 5. L.Jones, 6. Spath, 7. York, 8. Ebberts. NT

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Gaines, 2. Davis, 3. Gaunt, 4. Johnson, 5. Wilson, 6. Cottle, 7. Pankratz, 8. Matthews. 3:04.78

FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bud Kaeding, 2. Wise, 3. Hockett, 4. Ford, 5. Hood, 6. Rose, 7. Ballard, 8. T.Jones. NT

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. L. Jones, 2. Drake, 3. Wilson, 4. Rick Williams, 5. Shuman, 6. Forsberg, 7. Rose, 8. Spath, 9. Ballard, 10. Matthews, 11. Pankratz, 12. York, 13. Sherman, 14. Urton, 15. Cottle, 16. Mitchell, 17. Bragg, 18. Clauson, 19. Suggs, 20. Argo, 21. Rutherford, 22. Ebberts, 23. Hood, 24. T. Jones. NT

FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Damion Gardner, 2. Cory Kruseman, 3. Jerry Coons Jr., 4. Bud Kaeding, 5. Dave Darland, 6. Mat Neely, 7. Seth Wilson, 8. Mike Kirby, 9. Danny Sheridan, 10. Rip Williams, 11. Darren Hagen, 12. Bryan Clauson, 13. Rick Williams, 14. Josh Ford, 15. Mike Spencer, 16. Rickie Gaunt, 17. Jeremy Sherman, 18. R.J. Johnson, 19. Josh Wise, 20. Shane Cottle, 21. Jay Drake, 22. Jesse Hockett, 23. Brad Sweet, 24. Levi Jones, 25. Charles Davis Jr., 26. Dickie Gaines, 27. Bobby Cody. NT

**Camarillo flipped during the C Main. Suggs flipped during the second heat. Ebberts flipped during the semi feature. L.Jones flipped during the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-7 Coons, Laps 8-21 Kruseman, Laps 22-25 Gardner.

VALVOLINE USAC NATIONAL & USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: November 5, 2005 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway – 10th “Budweiser Oval Nationals”

“D” MAIN: (15 laps) 1. Jon Stanbrough, 2. Greg Bragg, 3. Jordan Hermansader, 4. David Cardey, 5. Tom Hessert III, 6. Evan Suggs, 7. Richard Brace, 8. Ryan Devitt, 9. Justin Marvel, 10. Troy Cline, 11. Richard Harvey Jr, 12. Cal Smith, 13. Ryan Pace, 14. Michael Trimble, 15. Nadine Keller, 16. Davey Ray, 17. Shawn Kautz. NT

“C” MAIN: (20 laps) 1. Davey Pombo, 2. Casey Shuman, 3. R.J. Johnson, 4. Bobby Cody, 5. Bill Rose, 6. Alan Ballard, 7. Troy Rutherford, 8. Wally Pankratz, 9. Shain Matthews, 10. Brent Kaeding, 11. Rodney Argo, 12. Hessert, 13. Adam Mitchell, 14. Devitt, 15. John Scott, 16. Tyler Spath, 17. Bragg, 18. Brace, 19. Cardey, 20. Danny Ebberts, 21. Hermansader, 22. Mike Leslie, 23. Stanbrough, 24. Suggs. NT

“B” MAIN: (20 laps) 1. Rick Williams, 2. Bryan Clauson, 3. Dickie Gaines, 4. Danny Sheridan, 5. Charles Davis Jr., 6. Jay Drake, 7. Mike Kirby, 8. Brad Sweet, 9. Josh Wise, 10. Josh Ford, 11. Jason York, 12. Ballard, 13. Pombo, 14. Shane Cottle, 15. Rutherford, 16. Pankratz, 17. Andy Forsberg, 18. Jeremy Sherman, 19. Cody, 20. Shuman, 21. Jesse Hockett, 22. Rose, 23. Johnson, 24. Tony Jones. NT

FEATURE: (50 laps) 1. Dave Darland, 2. Damion Gardner, 3. Rip Williams (#3 Jory), 4. Mike Spencer, 5. Mike Kirby, 6. Bud Kaeding, 7. Mat Neely, 8. Darren Hagen, 9. Brad Sweet, 10. Josh Ford, 11. Levi Jones, 12. Jerry Coons Jr, 13. Josh Wise, 14. Jason York, 15. Rick Williams, 16. Tom Hessert III, 17. Jordan Hermansader, 18. Charles Davis Jr., 19. Seth Wilson, 20. Bryan Clauson, 21. Jon Stanbrough, 22. Jay Drake, 23. Alan Ballard, 24. Rickie Gaunt, 25. Dickie Gaines, 26. Danny Sheridan, 27. Cory Kruseman. NT

**Ebberts, Cardey and Spath flipped during the C Main. Shuman, Johnson and Hockett flipped during the B Main. Gaines flipped during the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Rip Williams, Laps 3-50 Darland.

NEW VALVOLINE USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-L.Jones-1,486; 2-Darland-1,477; 3-Bud Kaeding-1,254; 4-Drake-1,232; 5-Wise-1,227; 6-Neely-1,089; 7-Stanbrough-885; 8-Coons-839; 9-Hagen-824; 10-Tracy Hines-645.

NEW VALVOLINE USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-Gardner-1,942; 2-Kruseman-1,832; 3-Rip Williams-1,800; 4-Kirby-1,561; 5-Davis-1,355; 6-Spencer-1,313; 7-Gaunt-1,312l; 8-Ford-1,135; 9-Sheridan-1,046; 10-Wilson-1,011.

NEXT VALVOLINE USAC NATIONAL & USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACES: November 10-12 – Phoenix, AZ - Manzanita Speedway – 38th Checker Auto Parts/Budweiser “Western World Championships”

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